SpecTIR and SEBASS analysis of the National Mining District, Humboldt County, Nevada
AuthorMorken, Todd O.
AdvisorCalvin, Wendy M.
Geological Sciences and Engineering
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the minerals and materials that could be uniquely identified and mapped from measurements made with airborne hyperspectral SpecTIR VNIR/SWIR and SEBASS TIR sensors over areas in the National Mining District. SpecTIR Corporation and Aerospace Corporation acquired Hyperspectral measurements on June 26, 2008 using their ProSpecTIR and SEBASS sensors respectively. In addition the effects of vegetation, elevation, the atmosphere on spectral measurements were evaluated to determine their impact upon the data analysis and target identification. The National Mining District is located approximately 75 miles northeast of Winnemucca, Nevada at the northern end of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Precious metal mining has been dormant in this area since the 1940's, however with increased metal prices over the last decade economic interest in the region has increased substantially. Buckskin Mountain has a preserved alteration assemblage that is exposed in topographically steep terrain, ideal for exploring what hydrothermal alteration products can be identified and mapped in these datasets. These Visible Near Infrared (VNIR), Short Wave Infrared (SWIR), and Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) hyperspectral datasets were used to identify and map kaolinite, alunite, quartz, opal, and illite/muscovite, all of which are useful exploration target identifiers and can indicate regions of alteration. These mapping results were then combined with and compared to other geospatial data in a geographic information systems (GIS) database. The TIR hyperspectral data provided significant additional information that can benefit geologic exploration and demonstrated its usefulness as an additional tool for geological exploration.